Shim Moore is best known as the lead singer of the band, Sick Puppies. Moore and the band rose to the heights of fame during their fifteen-year run, only to part ways in 2015. There has been little heard from Moore since the band’s split…until now. In April of this year, Shim released his first track as a solo artist called, “Hallelujah.” The track commands the listener’s attention immediately and reminds them of what they have been missing out on. We talked to Shim about his upcoming record and his quest to find his own identity outside of the Sick Puppies. Check out our conversation, then be prepared to reintroduce yourself to Shim Moore!!
The Music Room: Hey Shim! How are you doing man?
Shim Moore: Very good mate, very good.
TMR: That’s good to hear. Hey, I appreciate you taking a few minutes to chat with me and let us know what you are to these days.
SM: Dude, please. I appreciate you helping get the word out about this mountain that I’m trying to climb.
TMR: Well first things first, it is so great hearing you make music again. I really dig the new tune, “Hallelujah.” It’s an epic song. It’s so big, especially coming right out of the gate. I wanted to get your thoughts on the song and what kind of statement you’re making with this debut track.
SM: I wasn’t really trying to make a statement. I was trying to make the best music that I could…like I always do. I didn’t realize it until we released it and people started asking me questions about it…I realized that it was the first song that I wrote after I started to become a solo artist. I had a bunch of other songs on the record that I had kind of been figuring out where to put them. But when I decided alright, I’m going to be a solo artist… I’m going to roll the dice and put everything into this thing…”Hallelujah” isn’t actually about one thing. As I listened to it back I realized it’s more about life in general. Some songs you’re really specifically on the nose on, and some songs are more subliminal and you don’t really think about it. It came out of me very quickly and naturally. It was just a vibe. I realized that the hook was saying “can I get an amen or a hallelujah?” was me trying to manifest what was going to happen with this project. The crowd is going to sing back that lyric and say yeah, we’re with you. We’re in this project. We’re going to come to the shows. We’re behind you. That’s the energy on the first song. I definitely don’t take for granted the fact this is a new project. It’s a new brand. A lot of people that know me as Shim from Sick Puppies, and I’m not in that band anymore. So it’s a fresh start and a re-birth in a lot of ways. It’s not just a vanity project, it’s a whole new life that I’m building for myself now.
TMR: You obviously had to pay your dues with the puppies before you guys found success. How was it this time around? What was the experience like starting all over again? Was that experience with the puppies helpful, or was it a whole new thing?
SM: No, the experience of what I did with the puppies…like, I’m definitely following the same playbook that I did as far as all of the business and the production of the record. The reason I was able to produce this record mostly by myself was because…I didn’t produce those records, but I was with the producers all day every day learning their tricks. I eventually got to the point where I was in charge of recording my guitars and my own vocals. I was putting parts together because it saved time for them. I got to the point where I could handle it. All of that stuff has helped the situation. It’s an interesting dichotomy when you have that thing of like yeah, I’m that guy from Sick Puppies and I know how to do all stuff. But when you put it out into the world, you don’t have that. Noone else cares. The only thing they care about is, is the music good? That’s why I had to go back to ground zero. Any opportunities that we get from the fact that I am from the Sick Puppies is grace and good fortune. But it’s not to be expected because it doesn’t operate like that.
TMR: You made mention that you said, “if I’m going to do this as a solo artist.” Was there any thought to going back to the band setting before you decided to do a solo record?
SM: That’s the thing man, I tried to but another band together. Then I tried to work with a couple of other people, but it kept falling apart. It made me realize…The puppies had a lot of success, but we broke up. There were a lot of problems in the band. It’s really not that easy to find people who are compatible with you. It’s like finding a relationship. If you want to get married, you have to find someone that’s totally compatible with you. So the same thing happens when you’re trying to put a band together, or you’re trying to find people to collaborate with. I just couldn’t find people that were in the place that I was in. So I was forced to do a solo project due to my lack of other options. I was like, I’ve got to do something. I’ve got to put out a record. I’ve got to put out some music because people are asking for it. There is only so long you can be gone. I really should have put this record out last year but I was trying…basically, I was being a pussy. I didn’t want to do a solo project. I was being a pussy. I’ll take full responsibility that I really didn’t have the guts to be a solo artist because it’s never what I wanted to do. I wanted to be in a band, and I wanted to share the ride. Being a solo artist…I guess I could do that if I had to. Then it turns out that I had to because I was at risk of being too long away. Then you can’t come back. That’s why the whole solo project is. I haven’t been planning this since I was 15. I just turned around one day and said I have to because I’ve got to do something.
TMR: How did the recording work? Did you do all of the parts yourself, or did you bring in people to play? That seems like a lot of responsibility to do it on your own.
SM: It is a lot more responsibility. And it’s a lot more time consuming when you’re doing it all by yourself. There are two or three songs on the record that were produced by other people. The rest I either produced or co-produced. The majority of the record was done when I bought a bunch of gear from Guitar Center for 44 days and then returned it on the 45th day. I basically set up a studio in my bedroom and put it all together to record the album.
TMR: What is the timeframe now for the release of the record?
SM: Late September at the moment. I’m actually finishing the mixes this week. We’re hopefully delivering it this week and then it will be out at the end of September. That’s the plan.
TMR: Is it going to be an independent release, or is there a company behind you?
SM: It’s a fully independent release, and it’s being distributed by The Orchard under BMG, so it’s basically the independent route where I have a distributor on board to handle the release. But it’s my record label. I’m doing it all myself.
TMR: Once the record is released do you plan on hitting the road and doing some dates?
SM: As soon as I can. The only reason I’m not doing it now is because I had to focus on finishing the record, and we need the right tour. I might do a headline run at the end of the year, or I might find a band to go on tour with. We might just do festivals. I’m not really sure yet. It’s one of those things where you kind of need to throw the pitch and see where it lands. You need to release the record and see where it lands. Then you take every step as it comes.
TMR: It’s always good for the audience to get a chance to get to know the songs before they go see it live. That way they can interact with the experience. Judging from the first track, I feel like there is going to be a really cool live vibe.
SM: Thank you, man! I’m very proud of the record. I feel it’s the best work that I’ve ever done. And it’s definitely a diverse record. The thing that has been humbling for me is that we played four new songs at Rock on the Range, one of which was “Hallejuia.” People know it by now. It’s a straightforward rock song that’s kind of blues-based. People may think that’s the direction I’m going, but I’m not making a blues record. I’m making a rock record. It’s broad. I played a few of those songs and everyone was digging it. We all know the records where it all sounds the same. All of the polar records where it’s ten songs that all sound the same and one ballad. I can’t do that to my fans. I just can’t do it. I don’t want to play the same thing over and over. I want to take them for a ride. I want to go on a ride myself. Like, “Crucify.” It’s only been played a couple of times live and people are tweeting and YouTubing the videos and they’re loving the song. I’m like okay, cool. This is the right move.
TMR: Will you do some of the old songs in the set, or will you keep it new material only?
SM: Of course I’m going to do all of the songs. They’re my songs. More importantly, they are the songs that fans have come to know me for. If they go through all of the trouble to take money out of their bank accounts to buy the tickets to my show, then they deserve to hear whatever they want to hear. They want to hear “Going Down,” “Maybe,” “Riptide,” “Odd One” and all of those old songs. I’ll be playing them.
TMR: A lot of times a lot of things happen in life and people just want to focus on the negative and the bad things that we wouldn’t necessarily choose for ourselves. But things happen. The split with the band happened. How have you come out of this better?
SM: Oh man, that’s a big question. It’s a tough thing…The thing that I realized when the puppies split was that I lost my identity, right? Because the thing is, you and I are talking and you will introduce me as Shim, the former lead singer of Sick Puppies. If you introduced me as Shim, a lot of people don’t know who the hell that is. They’re like what is that? Ah…the singer from Sick Puppies. Imagine someone took away your name. Everything you’ve done in life is attached to that name, and now it’s gone. You have to figure out, what am I going to call myself now? What’s my identity? What do I represent? What am I doing? What does my life look like? Suddenly, what I’d been working and building for…I mean, I named the band. Then suddenly it was gone after 15 years and I was left with nothing to do. It took a while, it really took a while. That’s why I say I was a pussy about doing a solo project. It wasn’t like I got out of the band and was like oh, thank God…I can finally do that solo project I’ve been waiting to do. I didn’t want to do that. I just wanted to be in a band. That’s what I know.
That’s my personal ride. But the core element of it is very relatable. I know all sorts of people, whatever it is. They get out of school, they get downsized, or their husband leaves them, or their wife leaves them. When something is taken from you, it’s really hard to figure out what to do. And a lot of that stuff is on this record. I was very fortunate enough to have very dear friends and family that were supportive. But the record really had all of that blood on it. All that spirit. All that energy. I remember when I decided that I was going to do a solo record, I thought that this could go either way. There are no guarantees that this is going to be anything. At least I can say that this is the best…this is who I am. This is the best music that I can do. This is 100% my spirt, my lyrics, and what I want to say. This is how I want to affect people because that is what I want to do with my music. I want to positively…not just get them off. Not just write songs about drinking and fighting. I want to change how people think. I’m going to swing for the fences. I’m going to put it out there and then I’m going to let it go.
To do that, it’s painful. It really is. The song that closes the album, which is this piano ballad. I’ve always wanted to do a piano ballad. I never did it in the puppies. I started writing this song and something was stopping me from writing it. I remember my ego and my head were like, don’t do that. That’s painful. That hurts. I’m talking to myself in the middle of the night. I had to get drunk to finish the song because they’re like no, you’re talking about all of the really dark things. I was actually digging into how it feels. It’s basically about not wanting to wake up in the morning. It’s about being in that place where it’s just…as I talk about it I get choked up. It’s not because you’re weak. You’re a human being. So I went into this song and said let’s just bleed all over it. Let’s put it all out there. I finished the song and said that’s nice, but it’s so depressing that no one is ever going to want to hear it. I can’t put this on my record. Then I played it to a friend, and he said to me, “I didn’t know anyone else felt that way.” I was like wow, now I have to put it on the record, don’t I? You don’t necessarily want to commit suicide, but you want to disappear. I thought this was some self-indulgent piano ballad that was all poor me. But it turned out that everyone has a couple of times in their lives in their life where it’s just too much. They don’t to die. But sometimes you get in that place. But you deny it. But the truth is…you did. So I was like, you know what? I’m going to put it on my record and put it out there. This record is the sh!t man. I’m telling you, it’s got everything on it.